View Full Version : [4e] Four New Races for Japanese-y Settings

2008-06-19, 03:52 PM
Part of my campaign setting takes place in a circle of eight islands called Hachishima, with monsters, kami (gods-ish), and adventure locales based on Shinto mythology. It also includes a few custom races, and I'm working on converting them to 4e mechanics. What do you guys think?

Races of Hachishima, 4th Edition

Average Height: 4'10" - 5'4"
Average Weight: 100-150lb.

Ability Scores: +2 Dex, +2 Con
Size: Medium
Speed: 7 squares
Vision: Low-light

Languages: Common, Nezumi
Skill Bonuses: +2 Perception, +2 Intimidate
Resist Necrotic 5+1/2 level
Born of Dark Magic: Immune to Taint (present in areas with close ties to Yomi, also called the Shadowfell)

The Smell of Fresh Game Nezumi Racial Feature
You pause a moment to catch the scent of your prey.
Minor Action Personal
Effect: You can use a Perception check to sense the presence of creatures or strongly scented objects, even if you can't see or hear them. Gain a +5 bonus to your Perception check if the creature is bloodied. Scent alone is not enough to pinpoint the location of a creature or object you can't see, unless it is in an adjacent square.

When Tenno Jiro overtook the previous emperor, Shirou Hideki, to found the current dynasty, he banished Shirou to Oki, hoping to contain his tainted magics there. Shirou set about raising an army, transmuting the rats of that island into fierce warriors using the corrupting energies of Yomi. Thus, In the midst of a frigid desert, the race of Nezumi was born. Nezumi detest civilized society, preferring a permanent state of wandering to a permanent residence, and are as likely to be found as highwaymen along old roads as in the alleyways of Edo. They are deceitful, greedy, and vicious, and are known to commit any act in pursuit of personal gain.

Play a Nezumi if you want:
...to track your foes with a keen sense of smell.
...to be a frightening creature infused with the power of decay.
...to be a Ranger, Rogue, or Warlock.

Average Height: 5'-6'
Average Weight: 90-140lb.

Ability Scores: +2 WIS, +2 INT
Size: Medium
Speed: 6 squares
Vision: Normal

Languages: Common, Tengu
Skill Bonuses: +2 Arcana, +2 Religion
Gift of the Wind Kami: +1 to attack with wind-based powers

Take Wing Tengu Racial Feature
You call upon the kami of wind, and a breeze at your back lifts you up as you spread your wings.
Encounter ✦ Divine
Standard Action Personal
Effect: You gain a speed of fly 8 until the end of your next turn.

Tengu are bird-like people with red skin, long noses, and wings. They live in isolation at the summit of Mount Fuji, studying swordplay and learning about magic and the heavens. Most Tengu are honorable, trustworthy, and aloof. They tend to distrust Contemplatives and other practitioners of Psionic powers.

Play a Tengu if you want:
...to be a member of a mysterious, dying race.
...to fly with the help of the wind kami.
...to play a Wizard, Cleric, or Warlord.

Average Height: 3'-3'8"
Average Weight: 50-100lb.

Ability Scores: +2 CHA, +2 WIS
Size: Small
Speed: 6 squares
Vision: Normal

Languages: Common, Tanuki
Skill Bonuses: +2 Nature, +2 Bluff
Heavy Drinker: Tanuki gain skill training in Endurance.

Shapeshifting Tanuki Racial Power
You alter your form to look like some other humanoid or animal.
At-Will ✦ Polymorph
Minor Action Personal
Effect: You can alter your physical form to take on the appearance of any Small humanoid or animal, including a unique individual (see Change Shape, page 280).

Tanuki are jolly little raccoon-like creatures with magical powers, big bellies, and large testicles. They are most often seen wearing a large straw hat and holding a bottle of sake. Tanuki are good-natured tricksters, and are notorious for offering up leaves magically disguised as money in payment for their beloved sake.

Play a Tanuki if you want:
...to be a mischevious, good-natured trickster.
...to have an intimate connection with nature--and sake.
...to be a Cleric, Warlock, or Warlord.

Average Height: 3'5"-4'
Average Weight: 50-80 lb.

Ability Scores: +2 STR, +2 DEX
Size: Small
Speed: 6 squares, Swim 6 squares
Vision: Low-light vision

Languages: Common, Kappa
Skill Bonuses: +2 Athletics, +2 Thievery
Amphibious: Kappa are naturally aquatic creatures, but can survive out of water for a number of days equal to 3 plus their Constitution modifier.

Shellblock Kappa Racial Power
You hunker down and use your shell to block attacks.
Immediate Interrupt Personal
Effect: You gain a +4 racial bonus to AC and Reflex until the end of your next turn.

Kappa are child-sized goblinoids resembling shelled frogs. They inhabit ponds and rivers, and are known as mischievous troublemakers - pranks include passing gas loudly and blaming it on others, or taking advantage of their small size to look up young womens' kimonos. A small depression in the top of their head holds water, with a fringe of hair around it. Kappa venturing out of their ponds must be careful not to spill their water, especially when bowing. They are very curious; those who leave their ponds and streams usually do so out of a simple desire to see the world. Although fond of pranks, Kappa have a strong sense of etiquette and personal honor, but their honorable behavior usually does not extend beyond individual respect, and never rises to the level of patriotism or clan fidelity.

Play a Kappa if you want to:
...play practical jokes while keeping a firm sense of decorum.
...be as comfortable in water as on land.
...be a Fighter, Ranger, or Rogue.

In before "$E IS SO ANIME!!11" ;)

2008-06-19, 07:10 PM
Nice stuff... but no Kitsune? :P

2008-06-20, 09:41 AM
Hmm... I had been using Shifters in 3.5 as henge, a group of shapeshifters that included Kitsune. But since two of my players wanted to be Kitsune, they probably should have their own race write-up--Shifters never really felt right. I'll work something up.

2008-06-20, 10:32 AM
Nice. Are you also using the standard 4e PHB races? Which ones? (that helps if one wants to see if you are missing any niches)

Your races don't seem too far off each other. The non-combat power is neat enough that I can see people not missing it.

Your first race's balance may depend on how common necrotic damage is.

2008-06-20, 01:34 PM
Here's a fifth race, as well as racial feats for all five races.

Average Height: 4'8"-5'10" (human form), 3'-3'8" (fox form)
Average Weight: 80-120 lb. (human form), 30-50lb. (fox form)

Ability Scores: +2 CHA, +2 DEX
Size: Medium (human form), Small (fox form)
Speed: 6 squares (human form), 7 squares (fox form)
Vision: Low-light vision

Languages: Common, Kitsune
Skill Bonuses: +2 Acrobatics, +2 Nature
Breed: Choose one of the following breeds of kitsune.
Myobu (Inari fox): Resist Radiant 5+1/2 level
Nogitsune (field fox): Trained in Bluff.

Change Form Kitsune Racial Power
You change form, from fox to human or from human to fox.
Encounter ✦ Polymorph
Minor Action Personal
Effect: You change from fox to human or from human to fox. While in fox form, your size is Small, your base speed is 7 squares, and you gain a +5 racial bonus to Athletics checks. You cannot use manufactured weapons, but you gain a bite attack that deals 1d6 damage and has a +3 proficiency bonus. Your clothing and magical items change with you, and you alter their appearance to suit your new form--amulets and cloaks become collars, boots and gloves become bands around your paws, etc. You only have one appearance as a fox; you cannot use this racial ability to mimic other foxes.
While in human form, your size is Medium, your base speed is 6 squares, and you lose your +5 racial bonus to Athletics checks. You can use manufactured weapons, and you lose your bite attack. You may take the appearance of any human, even a unique individual.

Kitsune are magical foxes native to the forests and fields of Hachishima, known for their magical powers and slyness. Kitsune are known to spend months, even years, disguised as humans, particularly as beautiful women infiltrating the courts of powerful daimyo. They come in two main breeds: the myobu, white foxes with a special connection to the rice kami, Inari, and nogitsune, reddish-brown foxes with a penchant for trickery and deceit. As kitsune age and grow in power, they grow additional tails, up to nine in total. In human form, they can take the shape of any human, but usually maintain some connection to their appearance as a fox--pointed ears, hair colored like their fur--and when distracted or drunk, may have difficulty hiding their fox-like features.

Play a Kitsune if you want to:
...sneak into and manipulate human society.
...lead a double life as both animal and human.
...play a Rogue, Ranger, or Warlord.

Racial Feats
Heroic Tier

Snapping Bite [Kitsune]
Prerequisite: Kitsune
Tier: Heroic
Benefit: Increase the damage on your racial bite attack to 1d8, and your bite counts as both an unarmed attack and as a light blade. If you have the Sneak Attack class feature, you can use your bite to perform Sneak Attacks. If you have fewer than nine tails, you grow an additional tail.

Fox-Fire [Kitsune]
Prerequisite: Kitsune
Tier: Heroic
Benefit: You gain the Kitsune-bi power. If you have fewer than nine tails, you grow an additional tail.

Kitsune-bi Kitsune Racial Power
You fire a dazzling bolt of fire from one of your tails.
Encounter ✦ Fire
Standard Action Ranged 10
Attack: CHA vs. Reflex
Hit: 1d8 + Charisma modifer fire damage, and target is dazed until the end of your next turn.

Spined Shell [Kappa]
Prerequisite: Kappa
Tier: Heroic
Benefit: When you use your Shellblock racial power, you gain a +4 bonus to your Fortitude defense, and attackers who hit you take 1d4 + Constitution modifier damage.

Powerful Wings [Tengu]
Prerequisite: Tengu
Tier: Heroic
Benefit: You gain the Tengu Storm racial power.

Tengu Storm Tengu Racial Power
You flap your wings and generate a cyclone of wind.
Encounter ✦ Wind
Standard Area Burst 1 within 5 squares
Attack: INT vs. Reflex or WIS vs. Reflex
Hit: 1d6 + Intelligence modifer or 1d6 + Wisdom modifier damage, and target is immobilized until the end of your next turn.

Forest Magic [Tanuki]
Prerequisite: Tanuki
Tier: Heroic
Benefit: You gain the Cloud of Leaves racial power.

Cloud of Leaves Tanuki Racial Power
You blast your enemies and disappear in a flurry of leaves.
Encounter ✦ Teleport
Standard Action Burst 1
Attack: CHA vs. Reflex or WIS vs. Reflex
Hit: 1d8 + Charisma modifer or 1d8 + Wisdom modifier damage, and you teleport 5 squares.

Nezumi Assassin [Nezumi]
Prerequisite: Nezumi
Tier: Heroic
Benefit: +2 damage and proficiency with shuriken and daggers.

Any thoughts? Too good? Lame?

2008-06-20, 01:57 PM
Are you also using the standard 4e PHB races? Which ones?

These races all come from an area in my homebrew world called Hachishima (hachi=eight, shima=island). Humans and halflings (called Koropokkuru) are the only other races native to that area, but there has been recent contact with "The West", and it's possible for any other race to be there as a visitor. There's one other race, the Ningyo, a race of fish-men, but I haven't decided what to do with them yet. The myths have them as fish with human faces, so they're a far cry from the Merfolk in a standard D&D setting--I think I'll remove them as a player race and keep them as monsters and NPCs exclusively.

In the last game we played in that setting, my players all chose native races, but I think it would be fun to play a Dwarf in that setting as an awkward, fish-out-of-water character.

2008-06-20, 02:15 PM
Oh, they're really nice... though hmm... is the kitsune's... I know they don't really have a were-fox hybrid form... It's still really cool either way.

2008-06-20, 03:07 PM
Oh, they're really nice... though hmm... is the kitsune's... I know they don't really have a were-fox hybrid form... It's still really cool either way.

Yeah, I thought about making a hybrid form, but I think that everything that's cool about a hybrid form can be done through roleplay. A player that wants to be a cute human girl with a tail and little fox ears can do that in her "human" form if she wants--no need to make new mechanics, as far as I'm concerned.

2008-06-20, 03:33 PM
Yeah, I was thinking that, as I don't really remember kitsune really having that lycanthrope hybrid form (with bite and all, I don't see if it would make much of a difference?)... though, would it be okay if the fox form were medium instead of small?

2008-06-20, 03:35 PM
Kitsune-bi: Honestly, this is a bit too powerful... (and if you do fix it, shouldn't it scale?)

and attackers who hit you take 1d4 + Constitution modifier damage.

In melee only? :) Might you want to make it "who miss you"?

Tengu Storm

And I thought Kisune-Bi was too strong... This is on the level of a low-level class-based per-encounter power.

Feats <<< Powers in 4e.

Ditto for Tanuki Forest Magic.


Maybe if you made them Daily, or had them eat a Healing Surge, or both?

Uncle Festy
2008-06-20, 04:33 PM
These look rather awesome.
The Tanuki's racial power looks a little over-the-top, while the Kappa's seems a tad boring. Otherwise, really very cool.
Not good enough with balance to help more then thatů